Are Air Purifiers Good? The Real Impact on Your Health

Air purifiers are used to improve the air quality in your home. They clean the air you breathe and protect your family from the harmful diseases present in the air. You can use air purifiers to get rid of dust, pet hair, smoke, and bad smells. But are air purifiers good for your health or not?

Do you know that the pollution in the air inside your home can be five times higher than outside? Air purifiers help you reduce diseases that come from indoor air pollution. But wait, not all of them are good for you or your work, just like others. Many air purifiers do not live up to the expectations. 

Even the best air purifier can’t do everything and a good air filter shouldn’t be seen as a magic bullet for keeping the air inside healthy. The filter should be seen as part of your system. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that reducing common causes of pollution and increasing fresh air flow into your home are two of the most important things you can do to make your home environment healthier from air pollutants and diseases.

How do air purifiers work?

Air purifiers consist of two major parts: a filter or filters and a fan that draws in and circulates air. The filter stops and absorbs pollution and particles. A typical air purifier comprises Paper, fiber (typically fiberglass), or mesh filters. Are Air Purifiers Good? Like everything, it also has a lifeline and must be replaced often to maintain efficiency.

Filter replacement depends on the purifier type and use. Reusable and washable filters require careful maintenance. Reusable filters have their own benefits, they remove airborne dust mites and pollen well. On the other hand, UV filters kill biological contaminants like mold and bacteria. But do remember that some bacteria are UV-resistant.

In addition to the purchase price of an air purifier, you should also have a considerable amount for filter replacement. Air purifiers are used continually so replacements would take $50 per year, and total filter replacements might exceed $100 per year.

Some air purifiers use ionizers to attract static. The negative ions attach to dust and allergens and settle them out. If you’re looking to buy an ionizer air purifier, then do have a look at the unsafe amounts of ozone it releases. Ozone is a gas made up of three oxygen atoms and in air purifiers, it is used to break down pollutants. But sometimes ozone causes lung irritants and worsens asthma.

Are Air Purifiers Good? The Real Impact on Your Health

What is the purpose of air purifiers in terms of filtration?

Most filters available in the market are specifically engineered to capture particulate matter such as dust, smoke, and pollen. However, they are unable to effectively capture gaseous substances such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or radon, which have the potential to build from adhesives, paints, or cleaning chemicals. An absorbent, such as activated carbon, would be necessary for it.

To achieve maximum performance and the best air quality, filters must be replaced regularly, after every three months. Do remember that purifiers cannot catch allergens that stick in furniture or floors. Are Air Purifiers Good? The efficacy of air purifiers depends on the environment. The company claims “99% effectiveness” but it is only achievable in a controlled environment set in a laboratory. Other factors, such as your household’s ventilation, also impact a purifier’s effectiveness. If we look at the rate of new particles, we can say the air is not as filtered in reality as promised.

Do air purifiers filter outside air into homes?

Ryan Roten, D.O., an emergency medicine doctor at Redlands Community Hospital in California, says most people shouldn’t worry about transient pollutants like smoke or exhaust in the air outside their homes since they evaporate. Some air purifiers clean all kinds of air pollution that comes from houses.

VOCs and other non-organic air contaminants might come from outside your house. “There are all sorts of scenarios in structure fires where large doses of smoke inhalation may lead to cyanide toxicity,” Roten says. “That would mostly be someone standing right in or near a fire, who gets sent to emergency rooms quickly. Outside pollution, smoke, or brief foul air don’t usually bother onlookers.”

However, the correct purifier may remove ambient air contaminants that are affecting your community. I would recommend having a HEPA-filtered purifier for wildfires: “Anything that has a true HEPA filter in it is probably adequate enough to filter out most of the large particles that would be concerning,” adds. “Most of the smoky smell will also be addressed as well.”

What is a HEPA Filter?

HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, which is made of multi-layered filters with tiny fiberglass threads (far thinner than hair!). This micro-sized filter captures particles to clean the air quality of your home. Filters are sheets of tiny fibers sealed in metal or plastic frames.

The fan of air purifiers blows air into the filter that captures particles. Large particles crash into the fiber while mid-sized particles are blocked. Diffusion captures ultra-fine particles (by zig-zagging, they hit and attach to the fiber).

Are Air Purifiers Good? The Real Impact on Your Health

Is an air purifier necessary?

First, remember that an air filter is not a magical device that would clean the air quality of your house. Much medical research shows that air purifiers don’t directly improve your health or help with allergies or other respiratory problems. Are Air Purifiers Good? It’s hard to tell the difference between the effects of known air pollutants in your home before and after using air purifiers. If you have allergies or asthma, an air purifier with a HEPA filter can help you as it blocks all the tiny particles in the air.

What should I look for in an air purifier?

Finding the best air purifier from all the alternatives can be hectic. You should always have the size of the place in mind (i.e., how much covering is required). Types of filters and operational costs are also important when purchasing air purifiers. If you are stuck between two or more possibilities, try determining which air purifier is better by looking at all the aspects of both air purifiers:

  • True HEPA Filtration
  • Size Guidelines
  • Clean Air Delivery Rate Rating
  • Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers verification

Bottom Lines

Are Air Purifiers Good? Yes, they help make your house’s air cleaner and healthier to breathe. Its filters block dust, pet hair, smoke, and bad smells. However, not all air purifiers are the same. Some do a better job than others. It’s important to change the filters often so they keep working right. But they are good for improving the air inside your home, especially if you pick the right one and take good care of it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Air purifiers clean the air in your room. They use a filter and a fan to remove dust, pet hair, smoke, and bad smells.

Yes, they can make the air you breathe clean and healthy, but they don’t fix all air problems.

This can change depending on the kind you have, but you should change or clean the filter every few months to keep the air purifier working properly.

No. They are good at catching dust and pollen but may not catch bad gases or chemicals unless they have a special filter, like activated carbon.

Yes, especially those with HEPA filters because they can catch small things that worsen allergies.

HEPA means High-Efficiency Particulate Air. It is a filter that catches very small things and makes the air clean.

Choose one with a HEPA filter, consider how big your room is, and look at the clean air delivery rate (CADR) to ensure it’s strong enough.

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